Background/Question/Methods Many behavior conceptual models assume that animals have "perfect knowledge" of their environment. While strong selective pressure may optimize animals' ability to identify habitat components that maximize fitness, few are born with innate knowledge of their environment. That is, individuals still need to learn about the distribution and quality of resources available to them. This is particularly true for longer-lived species that cope with variable conditions over the course of their life. Many species passively collect information about habitat while performing other activities, such as acquiring food, defending a territory, or searching for mates. But growing evidence suggests that animals may deliberately move for the express purpose of acquiring information. One such behavior that may benefit animals would be to investigate winter resources, a limiting period, during summer, a time of abundance, when movements are less costly. Here, we term this "scouting" and investigate a population of North American porcupines to test whether they displaced characteristics consistent with this behavior; we compared summer and winter space use of porcupines using GPS occurrence data; and we monitored seasonal selection of winter habitat with the use of trail cameras. We examined selection of nutritional and structural characteristics to identify potential drivers of scouting behavior. Results/Conclusions We found that porcupines randomly sampled winter habitat during summer, and females returned to locations in winter with greater structural complexity but not higher nutritional quality. This study provides evidence of animals deliberately moving to gain information about winter resources during summer. More broadly, we suggest that scouting may be a search behavior that other species use to inform selection of resources in limiting seasons.